PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB)– Panama City Beach local Daniel Monte, worked a construction job at the Pentagon. September 11, 2001, was supposed to be his last day of work, as the rebuilding project had been completed. Later that day after a plane had struck the Pentagon, Monte considered himself lucky to be alive.
“Thank goodness I tripped, because if I would’ve been standing up when that plane hit that building… The limestone would’ve cut me right in half,” said Monte.
After the attacks, Monte stayed on the team to rebuild the Pentagon, just in time for the first anniversary.
“We all never had a day off. We missed every single holiday never went home. Everybody did a fantastic job,” he said.
Like many other 9/11 survivors, Monte was exposed to toxins like asbestos and lead while working at the site. Two years ago, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer and is actively seeking treatment.
During the pandemic, many 9/11 first responders have been at increased risk for contracting COVID-19, due to being immunocompromised.
Lawyer Lee London of Barasch & McGarry Law firm represents 9/11 first responder survivors. London said that he has lost some of his clients due to COVID-19.
“You might be around a 9/11 first responder that risked their lives in 2001, and you don’t want to interrupt any health conditions they may be having,” said London.
Monte is asking his community to step and do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“I try and do everything I can to protect myself and protect others, and I want people to do the same for me,” said Monte.
Monte also said that during these times, we as a nation should hold onto our American spirit and have hope for the future.
“9/11 was a tough time and we’re going through some tough times now, but we’ll get through this too,” said Monte.